Tag Archives: Alexandria

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Thomas Henry Zoch

Thomas Henry Zoch

Thomas Henry Zoch was born in Deniliquin, NSW, on Christmas Day 1893, the eldest son of Joseph Stephen and Annie Zoch (nee Skene). The Zoch family then moved to Euroa, Yea and Arcadia in Victoria. However young Tom was looked after by Zoch relatives in Pyalong where he went to school.

It appears that in June 1915 Tom tried to enlist in Melbourne but was asked to be medically examined again as his chest measurement was below standard. He was then accepted on July 5, 1915 in Melbourne. What is interesting is that he enlisted under the name John Foster, stated that both parents were deceased and gave his next of kin as a friend Charles Kincaid of Boisdale, Victoria.

After training Tom (known as John) left Melbourne on the Star of Victoria on September 10, 1915 as part of the 9th Reinforcements, 7th Battalion bound for Egypt. He had been made a private, number 2791.

Tom saw action late in the Gallipoli campaign, and on return to Alexandria in Egypt took part in further training. He was transferred to the newly formed 59th Battalion on February 24, 1916. This Battalion was mostly made up of men from rural Victoria.

Following a bout of influenza he was transferred to the Western Front in France in June 1916. On July 19, the 59th took part in its first major battle at Fromelles. Attacking in the first wave, the 59th suffered heavy casualties, and Tom was shot in his left knee. He was transferred to England where he received treatment, took leave and rejoined his Battalion in France in April 1917.

His injuries prompted a change back to his birth name. On August 17, 1916, the Army Records Office in Melbourne informed Tom’s next of kin, Charles Kincaid, that Tom had been injured. It would seem that Charles then decided to inform Tom’s parents as his father Joseph wrote to the Army in August informing them that John Foster was his son and his name was Thomas Henry Zoch. This letter describes the circumstances which caused Tom to use another name. Tom had accumulated a debt owed to a storekeeper and the storekeeper told Tom he would be jailed if he did not pay. Tom then ”ran away from home” and later joined the Army. On November 22, 1916 Thomas signed a statutory declaration saying he was Thomas Henry Zoch and the Army then altered his record.

Back in France, it is likely Tom took part in the Battle of Polygon Wood on September 26, 1917. With the collapse of Russia in October 1917, a major German offensive on the Western Front was expected in early 1918. This came in late March and the 5th Division moved to defend the sector around Corbie. During this defence, the 59th Battalion participated in the now legendary counter-attack at Villers-Bretonneux on 25 April. Tom was probably part of that attack.

Tom had experienced several bouts of sickness including during the rest of 1918. He returned to Melbourne on the Tras-os-Montes arriving on May 22, 1919. He was discharged from the army on July 15, 1919 after four years service.

Tom was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His name is recorded on the Pyalong State School Honour Roll.

In 1922 Tom married Harriet Donovan and in April 1923 he gave his address as Anzac Ave, Seymour when applying for a War Service Homes grant. He received a carrier’s licence in 1923 but soon after worked for many years on the railways. Tom died in January 1967 at Prahan and was buried in Springvale Cemetery.

 

 

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 24 May 2016

Advertisements

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Catherine O’Connor

AANS 3-2

Nurse

Catherine (Katie) was born in 1870 in Kilmore, the daughter of Patrick O’Connor and Elizabeth Seymour. At birth she was registered as Kate Margaret but later was known as Catherine. After school she trained for three years in nursing at Melbourne Hospital obtaining her Melbourne Hospital Certificate and her Victorian Nursing Certificate . She then nursed as a sister in charge of medical and surgical wards at Melbourne Hospital.

Katie enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service at Melbourne on November 3, 1914 as a nurse with the 1st Australian General Hospital (AGH) and embarked in Melbourne on November 28, 1914, on the Kyarra taking the 1st AGH to Cario, via Alexandria.  Nurses with at least three years service at a recognised hospital and aged between 21 and 45 years could apply to serve overseas.  For some reason Katie lowered her age from 44 years to 37 years on enlistment.

Katie first served in Egypt at the Hellioplis Hotel, the base for the 1st AGH in Cario from early 1915 to April 1916. This hospital expanded rapidly during the Gallipoli campaign. Katie was promoted to Sister on December 1, 1915, and was transferred to the 1st AGM at Rouen, via Marseilles in France in April 1916.

In France, the 1st AGH was based at the racecourse at Rouen from 1916 to late 1918, west of the Western Front.  It is said that 90,000 casualties passed through its wards during this period.  Katie’s service record indicates that she was attached to the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station (ACCS) from April 1917 until November 1917. Stations such as this were established almost “in the front line”.  During this time Katie was also temporarily transferred for short periods to the 32nd CCS, 46th CCS,  and also spent leave in the UK, Paris and Trouville.  It is likely Katie held a senior position with the 1st AGH from November 1917.

Katie was mentioned in despatches on April 7, 1918, as confirmed in the Commonwealth Gazette of October 24, 1918. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) on January 1, 1919, as reported in the Commonwealth Gazette of May 23, 1919.

Katie left Rouen in November 1918 for England and returned to Melbourne on the Somali, arriving on February 8, 1919. She was welcomed home in Kilmore in early March. Her appointment was terminated on April 16, 1919. She was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 1914/15 Star.

Katie died on July 30, 1949 in Melbourne and was buried in the Kilmore Catholic Cemetery where her headstone can be seen today. Her name is recorded on the Kilmore Shire Honour Roll in the Memorial Hall.

Nurse Katie O'Connor
Nurse Katie O’Connor

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 12 May 2015, p10

 

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Elizabeth Geoghegan

AANS 3-2

Nurse

Elizabeth was born in 1878 in Kilmore, the second daughter of Terence Joseph Geoghegan and Eliza Dargan. After school she trained for three years in nursing at Melbourne Hospital obtaining her Melbourne Hospital Certificate and her Victorian Nursing Certificate. She then nursed as a sister in charge of medical and surgical wards at the Melbourne Hospital.

Elizabeth enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service at Melbourne on 28 November 1914 aged 36 years as a nurse with the 1st Australian General Hospital (AGH) and embarked in Melbourne on 5 December 1914, on the Kyarra taking the 1st AGH to Cairo, via Alexandria.

Elizabeth first served in Egypt at the Hellioplis Hotel, the base for the 1st AGH in Cario from early 1915 to April 1916. This hospital expanded rapidly during the Gallipoli campaign. Elizabeth was promoted to Sister on 1 December 1915, and was transferred to the 1st AGH at Rouen in France, via Marseilles in April 1916.

In France, the 1st AGH was based at the racecourse at Rouen from 1916 to late 1918, west of the Western Front. It is said that 90,000 casualties passed through its wards during this period. Elizabeth’s service record indicates that she was attached to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station from November 1916 until August 1917. Stations such as this were established almost “in the front line”. She was transferred for short periods to the 3rd AGH and 5th AGH and also spent leave in the UK, Paris and Trouville. It is likely Elizabeth held a senior position with the 1st AGH from August 1917.

Elizabeth was mentioned in dispatches on 7 November 1917 as confirmed in the Commonwealth Gazette of 18 April 1918. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class) on 25 February 1918, as reported in the Commonwealth Gazette of 7 November 1918. She transferred to London for duty in late December 1918.

Elizabeth returned to Melbourne in late July 1919 on the Friedrichsruh as Sister in Charge. Her appointment was terminated on 7 December 1919. She was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and the 1914/15 Star.

In 1937 Elizabeth was one of 2,000 Australians who were awarded the Coronation Medal. At the time she was Matron of a Sanatorium in Mont Park. After World War Two she lived at Malvern and later moved to Perth where she died in 1970 aged 91 years.

Elizabeth Geoghegan 3-2
Elizabeth Geoghegan

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 7 April 2015, p13

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: John Clifford Bowers

Australian_Army_Rising_Sun_Badge_1904

Serial Number 11806

John was born in Kilmore in 1895, the son of Sylvester Bowers and Martha McKinley. He was in the senior cadets for one year, and was a labourer.

John, aged 21 years, enlisted at Melbourne on 18 September 1915. He embarked from Melbourne on Troop transport “Themistocles” on 28 January 1916 as a gunner, having trained at Castlemaine and Maribynong in December 1915. He was at Zeitoun in Egypt with the 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column (DAC) on 4 March 1916 and was posted to Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force. He disembarked at Marseilles on 19 March and joined the 2nd DAC.

On 1 April John was admitted to the 5th Field Ambulance with slight concussion and by the 8 April was back with the 2nd DAC at Moulin Fontaine. He was again discharged from hospital on 1 May and joined 22nd Field Artillery at the end of April and was posted to 21st Battery in July 1916.

John was killed in action by shrapnel to the head and neck on 3 August 1916 in the Battle of the Somme, France. He received the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His effects were forwarded to his father Sylvester in Kilmore – wallet, steel mirror, diary and a letter.

John is buried at the Serre Road Cemetery, near Beaumont Hamel, France, and his name is recorded on the Shire of Kilmore Honour Roll which was unveiled by General Birdwood in April 1920, the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Honour Roll and the Kilmore War Memorial.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 26 August 2014, p6

Serre Road Cemetery No. 2 (Photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: William Paul Boland

Australian_Army_Rising_Sun_Badge_1904

Serial Number 2338

William was born at High Camp in 1888. His parents were Patrick Boland and Judith (Johanna) Mooney. He married Mary Ann Latto Bett, an Australian nurse, at St. Marylebone Presbyterian Church, London, on 2 October 1918.

William, an agent aged 26 years, enlisted in the army on 6 May 1915 and was assigned to the 14th Battalion, 7th Reinforcements. He sailed for Alexandria, Egypt, on the “Grantully Castle” arriving on 23 October 1915. He was admitted to the “Dunluce Castle” at Mudros on the Greek Island of Lemnos in December with jaundice.

He rejoined his unit at Moascar, Egypt, in January 1916, but was admitted to the No 3 General Hospital in March with appendicitis and mumps.

William was promoted to Corporal in France on 17 September 1916, then to Sergeant in October and Warrant Officer in April 1917. He attended a Lewis gun school in July 1917, and was promoted to Lieutenant on 16 November 1917.

He was again in hospital in December 1918 with tonsillitis and was discharged back to Australia with recurrent tonsillitis in March 1919 where his engagement was terminated in July 1919.

William was awarded the Military Cross in May 1917 for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on the Hindenburg line at Reincourt and was awarded a Bar to his Military Cross in May 1918 for leading a reinforcing party at great personal risk in France. His other medals include 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

William served in World War 2 and he died near Lancefield in 1976 aged 87 years. He is listed on the Shire of Pyalong Honour Roll.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 26 August 2014, p6